What is MICE travel?
For those new to business travel, the word “MICE” would evoke images of a nocturnal, four-legged pest. But for experienced corporate travellers and those in the tourism business, the term conjures visions of business opportunities and events. Read on to find out more about this business-oriented form of travel.
MICE tourism, the new buzzword in international tourism markets, is an acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences/Conventions, and Exhibitions. It is a specific form of business tourism that relates to the activities of groups of business persons travelling for business purposes rather than individual business travellers and represents a multi-million dollar segment of tourism worldwide.
Meetings are events planned fairly in advance to bring business travellers together on a specific date for the purpose of exchanging information, either between people from one company or organization, or between people from different establishments. Some of the events that would comply with the World Trade Organization’s definition of ‘meeting’ include product launches, cocktail functions, breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings and special occasions such as weddings.
Incentives involve travel to foreign countries or domestic destinations as part of a motivational or incentive scheme to enhance or reward employee efforts. Mostly consumer goods, automobile and electronics companies use incentive travel, i.e. vacations with the family, to reward dealers and drive dealer sales.
Conferences or conventions are generally described as multi-day events attended by at least a hundred delegates for the purpose of exchanging business information. If 40% or more of the delegates come from outside the host country, the event would be termed as an international conference or convention. The difference between meetings and conferences lies in the number of people attending, and the duration of the event.
Exhibitions involve the drawing together of corporate leaders and business-minded people for the purposes of viewing products and services of different enterprises and business groups.
Why MICE tourism?
• MICE is an advanced branch of tourism involving vigorous economic activities and hence, plays a significant role in the tourism economy of a destination. The main advantages of the growth of MICE tourism are listed below:
• The economic growth of the region as a whole gets a boost.
• It results in the development of better infrastructure, mainly in transportation, accommodation and air services.
• The different events attract investors from other parts of the country and the world.
• The elements of relaxation, shopping and sightseeing are usually included in MICE trips. Hence, most MICE travellers can be converted into leisure travellers who would spend money on sightseeing and shopping.
• It is quite common for delegates to bring along a companion. It has been found that around 19% of delegates travel with at least one accompanying person and that 39% of them visit other areas either before or after a meeting or conference. Thus, MICE tourism is a powerful revenue earner and the foreign exchange generated goes straight to the core of the region’s economy, ultimately generating income for other parts of the country.
• MICE events increase awareness of the host country, create employment and income, support the development of local and national industries, and help the expansion of export markets.
• MICE tourism strengthens the brand value and profile of the country as an international tourist destination.